Whale sharks, manta rays, turtles, stunning corals – interested in photographing the big stuff? We don’t blame you. As much as some of us love our macro critters, there’s nothing quite like nailing that perfect shot of a tiger shark or a humpback whale. Visit these 10 dive destinations in Asia Pacific stat to up your wide-angle underwater photography game and strike some experiences off that bucket list.
When you’re not spamming your Instagram account with gorgeous topside shots, you’ll be busy shooting all sorts of large marine animals underwater. From whale sharks to manta rays and the endangered humphead wrasse, you won’t have trouble spotting these guys when you’re exploring the atolls of the Maldives.
This marine park in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, is home to a dizzying number of turtles (it’s entirely possible to see up to 10 on a single dive). It’s also a great place for wall and drift diving. Currents can be unpredictable, so watch your dive computer like a hawk and don’t be too preoccupied with the camera.
Every dive is so different that you’ll be spoilt for choice in Palau. There’s WWII wrecks, drop-offs for lots of big fish action, channels for more big fish action, and caves (don’t worry, the ones at Chandelier Cave are suitable for all divers, even if you haven’t had formal training). There’s also Jellyfish Lake, where you won’t be needing your scuba gear, just your trusty ol’ snorkel, mask, and fins.
Complete with intricate patterns in the form of swirls and twirls, the unique-looking Salvador Dali sponge is actually native to Gorontalo, which is located in the northern tip of Sulawesi. These unique subjects are great for wide-angle photography, just throw in a fellow diver to model for you and work to get that shot you need.
Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Sure, Raja Ampat is one of those places where you could do both macro and wide-angle photography, but you wouldn’t really be capturing its true essence with a +10 lens. This Indonesian archipelago contains one of the richest marine biodiversity on Earth so keep that dome port on for the massive schools of fish, vibrant reefscape, and gorgeous mangrove forests.
Pacific Harbour, Fiji
Fancy a cage-less shark dive? Do it in the best place in the world: Fiji. Fly to Pacific Harbour in Viti Levu and descend into the depths of the Shark Reef Marine Reserve to get up close and personal with all sorts of sharks, from bulls and tigers to grey reefs and tawny nurses.
Off the east coast of Sabah, East Malaysia, is Sipadan – a protected marine reserve that’s recognised as a world-class dive destination. Here, more often than not, you’ll be able to swim with reef sharks, bumphead parrotfish, turtles, jacks, and barracuda on just one dive.
Every year from July through October, humpback whales migrate from their feeding grounds in the Antartic to the waters of Vava’u in Tonga to breed and give birth to their calves. No scuba gear needed, just freedive to see these majestic creatures in the flesh.
Right smack in the middle of the Sulu Sea in the Philippines is Tubbataha. This far-flung dive destination is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s diveable for just three months each year (mid-March through mid-June). In its warm, pristine waters, you’ll find whale sharks, tuna, humphead wrasse, hawksbill turtles, manta rays, and plenty of reef fish. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to spot a tiger shark as well as some dolphins…!
Truk Lagoon, Micronesia
Micronesia’s Truk Lagoon is synonymous with wreck diving. If you’re a history buff, you’ll be thrilled to know there are countless WWII ships to explore in this sheltered body of water (keyword: sheltered, so expect little to no current).